Blacklisted Airlines

We read a lot about accidents, especially in regions, where safety standards are low: South America, Africa and Middle Asia. But what can we do if we have to travel to these regions? Naturally a logical step is to take a look at the blacklist of airlines and try to avoid them.

But who are these blacklisted airlines? Who decides on these bans? How can they get on and off the list? Let’s take a closer look at the procedure.

FAA, EASA, ICAO, SAFA – who can see this mess through?

There are many different abbreviations when it comes to aviation safety. FAA, EASA, ICAO, SAFA – who can see this mess through? First of let’s make some order. There are levels in the hierarchy of authorities. The first level is always the National Aviation Authority in every country.

The National Civil Aviation Authorities work closest to those airlines registered in the countries. it is their responsibility to check these airlines. They know the most about them and they are the ones to give the most update and accurate information concerning their safety level. Their work is regulated by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) standards.

The ICAO gives directives to be applied by all National Aviation Authorities of countries that signed the so called Chicage Convention. The directives of the ICAO concern the airlines, aircrafts, technical maintenance, training, crew, etc.

There are two organisations in the EU that incorporate the National Aviation Authorities. One them is older and includes countries that are not part of the EU. It is called JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities) and it is giving over all its functions now to EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).

EASA was formed in 2003 and it works together closely with the European Commission and the European Parliament. The biggest difference between JAA and EASA is that EASA has a force of law, while JAA only harmonized the international agreements. EASA is the one that sets up the list of banned airlines from the EU, which is then published by the European Commission.

Besides this EU airlines set up a programme called SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) to control airlines registered outside the EU. SAFA carries out unexpected safety checks from time to time.

In the US the equivalent of EASA is FAA (Federal Aviation Agency). FAA is the part of the United States Department of Transportation. It is basically the National Aviation Authority of the US. However there is an interesting situation as in November 2001 (following the events of September 2001) another safety ornagisation was formed by president George Bush called TSA (Transportation Security Administration). TSA first belonged to the same US Department of Transportation, but was later moved under the Department of Homeland Security. TSA focuses more on security issues and not the safety standards of aviation.

So now that we made an order among all these abbreviations, let’s see the updated blacklist of airlines banned from the EU. It was updated and published on 11 April 2008 (yesterday).

There are 14 countries’ airlines on the list. 8 of them are African and 6 are Asian. Let’s see the top of the blacklist:

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo – 54 carriers
  2. Indonesia – 49 carriers
  3. Kyrgyz Republic – 24 carriers

I hope this will help you avoid flying unsafe airlines.

By Szafi

11 Responses to “Blacklisted Airlines”

  1. 1 Smith April 13, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Good Job,

    I have seen quite a few blogs on the same topic and you have covered everything here very comprehensively. I belong to the same industry if find time do visit my blog too at

  2. 2 szafi April 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    The first accident of a banned airline since we published this article.

  3. 3 szafi May 3, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Apparently there is an interest that blacklisted airlines get off from the blacklist:

  4. 4 jay July 9, 2008 at 7:53 am

    hi, just for your info..some indonesian airline are getting better now..
    lion air had just bought some latest boeing from singapore airshow and was the biggest transaction there..
    also Garuda indonesia has passed the IATA safety audit, (i think it’s IOSA) which was said to be very strict..
    come on, indonesia’s aviation is growing better now..please support us guys

    • 5 whatever May 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      buying new high tech aircrafts doesnt really signifies that its getting better. it just means that they are turning profits. this so called new hightech boeing has just crashed in bali few weeks ago as a matter of facts. a new aircrafts is useless if the pilots are inexperienced or they dont pass the international security and safety standard that has been set. i dont think supports is a thing that you should be asking for. human lives are much more important than support. let the company be. if they want to pass regulation then they should try harder and care more for human lives. not just the money.

  5. 6 John June 30, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I actually didn’t see any South American carriers on that list.

    • 7 margi March 31, 2010 at 2:21 am

      I am wondering whether Copa is a safe airline. I am going to Argentina and it seems less expensive than American or United – but is it safe? Can anyone answer please.

  6. 8 balint01 April 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Copa is considered as safe airline, it code-shares with Continental Airlines and is an associate member of the SkyTeam alliance. Even the livery resembles that of Continental. Having checked, it looks like they fly Boeing 737-700 planes to Argentina, which are a new generation aircraft, with winglets at the end of their wings. Safe airplanes to fly.

  7. 9 raoul Esperas February 14, 2011 at 4:23 am

    A pleasant day sir

    I am a broadcast journalist here in Manila, Philippines, Can you update me as to the status of our aviation safety downgrading

    Thank you very much

    Raoul Esperas
    Aviation reporter

  1. 1 Are You A Passenger Or A Criminal? « Airline world Trackback on April 17, 2008 at 9:22 pm
  2. 2 68 Dies In Kyrgyzstan Air Crash « Airline world Trackback on August 25, 2008 at 9:37 pm

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